NSW GOVERNMENT WEEKLY UPDATE – 18 JANUARY 2020

NSW BUSHFIRE RELATED UPDATES

PAYMENTS NOW AVAILABLE FOR RFS AND SES VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE SPENT WEEKS KEEPING COMMUNITIES SAFE

  • NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers who have spent more than ten days fighting fires and helping with the recovery effort can apply for loss of income payments from today.
  • Volunteers who have provided more than ten days service and are self-employed or employees of small or medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million will be eligible for $200 per day up to a total of $6000 without evidence of income loss. A maximum payment of $300 per day will be provided with proof of income loss through pay slips or previous tax statements.
  • Payments to NSW volunteers will be administered by Service NSW through a convenient and secure process requiring a volunteer membership number and employer’s business name. Most applicants will receive their payment within five days of the application. For more information, visit a Service NSW Centre, go online to www.service.nsw.gov.au or call 13 77 88.

LIST YOUR HOLIDAY HOME TO HELP A NEIGHBOUR

  • People who own holiday homes in bushfire-affected communities are being encouraged to list them with local real estate agents for rent, to increase the supply of accommodation available for those who have lost everything.
  • The NSW Government can provide financial assistance through rental bond loans and advance rent payments to help get people into suitable accommodation.
  • People who are in need of housing assistance as a result of the bushfires can call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 or visit a local Department of Communities and Justice Housing office.

NSW GOVERNMENT COORDINATES BUSH FIRE CLEAN-UP

  • The NSW Government will coordinate the clean-up of residential and commercial properties destroyed by bush fires this season, at no cost to owners, so they can start rebuilding and communities can begin healing.
  • Costs for clean-up will be covered by the NSW Government in partnership with the Federal Government, irrespective of whether properties are insured or uninsured.
  • This means insured property owners will be able to use every dollar of their insurance policies towards rebuilding. For the uninsured, it’s one less thing to worry about.
  • Further information is available at: www.service.nsw.gov.au.

MORE ASSISTANCE FOR BUSHFIRE AFFECTED LANDHOLDERS AS STOCK LOSSES RISE

  • The NSW Government is ramping up its support for bushfire affected farmers in Southern NSW as the number of livestock confirmed to have perished across the State exceeds 13,000.
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services staff are on the ground assisting fire-impacted landholders with livestock assessment and burial of dead animals.
  • Producers can report stock losses and infrastructure damage, or request animal assessment, or emergency fodder or water for stock by calling the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647.

FIRE FIGHTING MISSION SAVES PREHISTORIC PINES

  • A specialist team of remote area firefighters have helped to save the prehistoric Wollemi Pines from this season’s bushfires.
  • The operation included large air tankers laying fire retardant and specialist firefighters being winched into the remote site from helicopters to set up an irrigation system in the gorge to increase moisture content of the ground fuels.

PREMIER APPOINTS MINISTER FOR DISASTER RECOVERY

  • The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro will be the Minister responsible for disaster recovery, leading recovery efforts following the recent bushfires across NSW.
  • The unprecedented scale of the 2019/20 bushfire season requires additional arrangements to be put in place to ensure impacted communities recover and rebuild as quickly as possible.

SIGNIFICANT SCHOOL BUSHFIRE RECOVERY ON TRACK FOR DAY ONE

  • The NSW Government is undertaking unprecedented recovery work to ensure the 178 schools in bushfire affected communities are repaired and cleaned for staff and students for Day 1, Term 1.
  • Thanks to the efforts of department staff, emergency services, RFS and local tradies, it is expected that all schools be open for the first day of term.
  • For more information, visit the NSW Department of Education website: https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/school-safety/.

OTHER NSW GOVERNMENT UPDATES

LOCKOUT LAWS REPEALED – GROWING SYDNEY’S NIGHT TIME ECONOMY

  • Sydney’s “lockout laws” have been repealed in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct bringing in extended trading hours for venues and bottle shops and a relaxation of after-midnight drink rules, with existing arrangements maintained in the Kings Cross precinct.
  • Existing arrangements are being maintained in the Kings Cross precinct and will be reviewed next year along with the following changes which came into effect overnight:
    • Removal of 1.30am last entry for all venues in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, including those on Oxford Street.
    • Removal of restrictions on serving cocktails, shots and drinks in glass after midnight in this precinct.
    • Extending ‘last drinks’ at venues with good records in this precinct by 30 minutes.
    • Extending bottle shop opening hours across NSW until midnight from Monday to Saturday, with 11pm closing on Sunday.
    • Increasing small bar patron capacity from 100 to 120 across NSW.

COFFS TO PILOT REGIONAL SENIORS TRAVEL CARD

  • Up to 80 Coffs Harbour seniors will be the first to try out the NSW Government’s $250 Regional Seniors Travel Card from Thursday, 23 January ahead of applications opening statewide later this month.
  • The Coffs Harbor pilot would inform the statewide rollout of the card, with applications set to open from Wednesday, 29 January.
  • To be eligible to receive the $250 Regional Seniors Travel Card you must be an age pensioner with a valid Pensioner Concession Card or hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card issued by either the Department of Human Services or Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Seniors must also live in regional NSW outside Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong City Council boundaries.

NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FOR WOMEN IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS

  • People across the State are encouraged to celebrate the contributions of inspirational women in NSW councils by making a nomination for the 2020 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government.
  • Nominations will close on 12 February 2020. The awards will be presented at a ceremony at Parliament House in Sydney on 24 March 2020.
  • Full details of the categories and information on how to make a nomination can be found at www.olg.nsw.gov.au.

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